Oh, the week it was. We found out that Trumble is sleeping on the couch, AusPol kicked back into its petty stride and Fox Sports fought a bloke who televised a fight.
Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. It’s Trump Watch week two and the POTUS has set his eyes on a stoush with Australia; we’ve also had another Terror Attack in France, a damning UN report out of Myanmar and the return of the same-sex marriage debate.
The Trump Train continued on its merry way this week, making a little stop down under to throw us into the international front pages.
The relationship between US and Australia has always been close. We absorb and take on as much of their popular culture as possible and in exchange, we send our soldiers off to fight in any war the US deem appropriate at any given time. Sorted.
All of that changed this week when details of the first official phone call between Trump and Turnbull emerged – and it wasn’t pretty. The phone call was booked for an hour, but lasted 25 minutes, with Trump reportedly hanging up on Turnbull after screaming at him (which they both deny). The source of the conflict was the deal brokered between previous Prez Obama and Turnbull over the resettlement of refugees currently languishing in our offshore refugee facilities which Trump considers a “dumb” deal that will likely result in the “next Boston Bomber”.
Turnbull called the conversation courteous, Trump called it the worst conversation he’s had with a world leader thus far. Either way, everyone scrambled to either repair the damage or give it the appropriate humour it deserved. Senior members of the Republican Party scrambled to make it very clear that the US-Aus alliance was very important. Former Republican Presidential Candidate, John McCain, went so far as to call Ambassador Joe Hockey to apologise personally. Everyday Americans and celebrities alike rushed to social media to apologise on behalf of their country.
Trump backpedalled after everyone reminded him that we’ve fought alongside them in every single one of their unpopular wars, often when others wouldn’t, and possibly after he was reminded that they kind of need their Australian military presence and that whole Pine Gap place because, well, China. After Turnbull continued to insist that the whole thing was a storm in a teacup, Trump rewarded his lapdoggery by publicly thanking him on Twitter; “Thank you to Prime Minister of Australia for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about,” only to have Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, repeatedly refer to Turnbull as “Trumble” during a press conference.
Thank you to Prime Minister of Australia for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about. Very nice!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
…You couldn’t make this stuff up.
France was again a victim of terror this week following an attack from a knife-wielding man near the famous Louvre Museum. The man allegedly attacked French soldiers on patrol near the landmark whilst shouting “Allahu akbar”.
Proving once and for all that you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist), the soldiers opened fire on the attacker as he lunged at them and struck one of the soldiers, knocking him to the ground. When it appeared that he wasn’t going to stop, the soldier shot the attacker five times in the abdomen.
Reports suggest that the attacker is believed to be a 29-year old Egyptian who had been living in the United Arab Emirates. Security services in Cairo have identified him as Abdullah Reda al-Hamamy, born in Dakahlia, a province northeast of Cairo.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Trumble staffer suspended for “Tuck Frump” post
- Three theories behind Trump’s Turnbull hang-ups
- Trump pulls half-backflip on Oz refugee deal
The UN has released a report in which it accuses security forces in Myanmar of committing horrendous human rights abuses which include gang rape, beatings and child killing.
The report was compiled following interviews with more than 200 Rohingya refugees who fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Reports estimate that 65,000 members of the Muslim minority community have fled to Bangladesh since violence broke out in Myanmar last October. The UN report indicates that nearly half of the interviewees have had a family member killed and 52 of the 101 women interviewed have been raped or been victims of sexual violence from security forces.
De facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and the Myanmar government have denied the claims, insisting that security forces follow the rule of law, however, a spokesperson for Ms Suu Kyi also told the BBC that they take the allegations seriously and they would be investigated immediately.
There were tense scenes in Melbourne this week as Victorian police moved on a group of 20 homeless people outside Flinders Street Station. The rough sleepers were warned ahead of time of the eviction which allowed a group of protesters to mobilise, who police say were the reason the matter ended in violence.
Five arrests were made during the operation including one for drunkenness, one for assaulting police and another for throwing an object at police. One officer suffered minor injuries when he received a punch to the back of the head by a protester.
On the other side of the coin, the Homeless Persons Union Victoria have lashed out at the media coverage of the homelessness issue, which they believe led to homeless people being assaulted by members of the public following the protest this week.
Also on The Big Smoke
- #AusPol winners and losers: Whose bell tolled for thee?
- While you were asleep: Turnbull shares donation, Trump names SCOTUS, Iran reveals rocket
- Post-Left, post-Right: I’m longing for a rational future
The same-sex marriage debate is back in force this week with reports suggesting that serious tensions within the government are rising again. Conservative MPs have warned Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that allowing a free vote would be a “betrayal” of the Coalition’s election commitments – apparently, that’s suddenly important to them.
The warning comes as reports that a group of moderate Liberal MP’s are pushing to abandon the government’s plebiscite position over the next fortnight, replacing it with a free vote on the floor of Parliament. Whilst the push is coming from the back bench, it is understood that some of the more senior members of the Libs believe that resolving the issue once and for all might be in the best interests of the party.
Unfortunately, there is another little problem. The Nationals. The Coalition agreement between the Libs and The Nats specifies that a plebiscite must be held. It’s believed that switching to a free vote could trigger a war between the two Coalition members, which the Libs can hardly afford.
Wacky and wonderful
I love a story where a boss does something awesome for their employees. Most of us spend a fair chunk of our lives at our workplace; as an employer myself, I’m a big believer that the least you can do is make it a tolerable experience.
The President of Pizza Hut in the US has done that and more. After attending last year’s Super Bowl, Artie Starrs felt guilty for having such a good time while 150,000 of his workers were slaving away on the company’s busiest day of the year. This year he decided to do something about it.
The company held a six-month contest where staff with the best customer satisfaction scores would have their names put into a bowl with the winner getting to enjoy the dream Super Bowl experience.
But Artie wasn’t stopping there. He decided that not only would the winner get the once in a lifetime opportunity, but he would take on their job responsibilities on Super Bowl Sunday. Whilst the lucky 20-year veteran employee of the brand will be attending the game with her husband, Artie will be working in the store folding boxes, making pizzas, delivering pizzas and doing whatever needs to be done.
Hats off, sir – that’s some expert bossing.
Also on The Big Smoke
Back home, the much-anticipated grudge match between Anthony Mundine and Danny Green has come and gone with Green controversially taking the bout held at the Adelaide Oval. For those not lucky enough to score tickets to the match, their only option was to fork out for a pay per view experience through Foxtel.
A bloke called Darren Sharpe gave everyone another option, live streaming the event on Facebook to around 78,000 viewers. Foxtel was on to it quickly, contacting him during the broadcast and making it very clear that this was a no-no and he’d better stop the stream immediately or face the wrath of the Copyright Act of Australia.
Sharpe was having none of it, telling the rep from Foxtel “I’ve got 78,000 viewers here that aren’t going to be happy with you, mate.”
The response: “It’s an offence against the Copyright Act of Australia, mate.”
But Sharpe was resolute, replying, “I don’t think I can stop streaming, mate. There’s people all over the world watching this” – a truly Aussie exchange if there ever was one.
Sharpe has since set up a funding website to raise money for an expected legal battle with Foxtel, saying “Please donate in case I end up getting sued haha if not and I Foxtel doesn’t rekt me I’ll donate to cancer council cheers everyone your the best”.
An Aussie hero, ladies and gentlemen!
Have a cracking week, TBSers!